Edgar Ramirez, left, and Ashley Hernandez took first place for the best dance performance. They dazzled the crowd with an authentic Cumbia, a fun upbeat-style of dance from Central America.
Shut Up & Dance Ballroom Studio produced and sponsored an exciting dance extravaganza and fundraiser they appropriately titled The "Battle of The Stars." Contestants in the May competition danced their way to a combined contribution of $5140.50 for "Dress-4-Success" a program designed to provide new back to school clothing to low-income children in Fond du Lac County.
The "Stars" included community leaders and citizens. They spent several months learning dance routines with their "professional" partners, preparing for the competition. Winners were determined by votes cast in the way of contributions, and also by their dance performance. Voting was open online prior to the event as well as at the Knights of Columbus Hall during the Saturday evening gala.
Julie Wilson, owner of the dance studio, and her students donated nearly 500 hours of their time to train the "Stars," choreograph routines, plan costumes, and prepare other details for the event.
"I feel God has blessed me with a talent, the gift of dance, and producing events like this is my way of giving back to a community that has helped me get my business off the ground."
Edgar Ramirez, owner of Casa Del Tequila Restaurant and his partner Ashley Hernandez took first place for the best dance performance. They dazzled the crowd with an authentic Cumbia, a fun upbeat-style of dance from Central America.
Coming in second were Nicole Oechsner, owner of the Renaissance Salon and her partner Jonathan Bruening, with a fast-paced Samba to the song Jazz Machine.
Taking third place was Erin Gerred, administrative director of Fond du Lac County, with her partner Sean Pruitt. Erin and Sean wowed the audience with a hip hop number featuring music mixed by Sean (DJ Galaxy), of B104 radio.
Winners were chosen on dance performance alone. Being a fundraising event, another group of "winners" was chosen based on monetary votes ($1 = 1 vote donation). "Stars" were encouraged to have family members, friends and co-workers vote for them.
Larry Goebel, owner and president of Goebel Insurance & Financial, Inc was the top monetary winner raising $1,753. Larry and his partner Tracey Scharf danced a timeless waltz to Dark Waltz from Phantom of the Opera.
Erin Gerred and Sean Pruitt not only placed in the dance competition portion of the event, but they raised $1,284 for the Dress-4-Success program and took second place for their efforts. Coming in third place, raising $525 were Dan Manning, FDL City Council member and president of Salute the Troops, and his partner Brenda Schneider, municipal clerk for the town of Taycheedah and Supervisor on the Fond du lac County Board. They jived their way into spectators hearts with their rendition of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."
Other performers included Tom Thorpe, co-owner of Paul's Snowplowing and Landscape, who performed a Rumba with his partner Brandi Wilson; Tracy Mathweg, owner of Lillian's Shoppe, did a Tango with her partner John Bartow; Will Dalton, bartender at Parrot Palms, danced a Cha Cha with Michelle Bierman; Angelina Triscari of Eden Stone and community activist, performed a Foxtrot with her partner Jonathan Bruening; Rob VandeZande, a city council member danced a Bolero with his partner Deana Bacon; and Sara Cujak, owner of Cujak's Wine Market, LLC & Wine Bar, performed a Waltz/ Cha Cha mix with her partner Kevin Williams.
The money raised by "Dress-4-Success will be donated to "Back to School," a program operating under the local Loaves and Fishes non-profit organization. Families applying for assistance with back to school supplies will also be considered for the back to school clothing fund.
Julie Wilson and Shut Up & Dance are committed to introducing and sharing the value of dance to their students and the community and feel that dance has been a way to bring the Fond du Lac community closer together. All she asks is "Give Dance a Chance."